Untreated, HIV is normally a death sentence. But not quite always. A small number of people infected with HIV can survive for decades without symptoms. They’re called “elite controllers”, and — although the fact that they’re healthy makes them hard to identify with certainty — they’re thought to comprise less than 1% of the infected [...]... Read more »
The International HIV Controllers Study. (2010) The Major Genetic Determinants of HIV-1 Control Affect HLA Class I Peptide Presentation. Science. info:/10.1126/science.1195271
Lies, damn lies and statistics.Now to be fair I've been primed to disbelieve most future predictions by being mid-way through Dan Gardner's excellent Future Babble, but really, obesity rates to hit 42% is headline news?The headlines referred to a study published last week in PLoS Computational Biology that had some truly fancy Harvard folks hammer out a formula to predict what obesity's going to do down the road. Those fancy folks are building on a prior study of theirs that proved that obesity ........ Read more »
Hill, A., Rand, D., Nowak, M., & Christakis, N. (2010) Infectious Disease Modeling of Social Contagion in Networks. PLoS Computational Biology, 6(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000968
One of the most influential thinkers in the field of developmental psychology was Erik Erikson. Originally a pupil of Freud, he made a name for himself with his work on the development of human social identity. I read about Erikson’s theories when studying for my professional qualification, but most emphasis on developmental theory in careers [...]... Read more »
Berzonsky, M., Cieciuch, J., Duriez, B., & Soenens, B. (2010) The how and what of identity formation: Associations between identity styles and value orientations. Personality and Individual Differences. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2010.10.007
Sensing and identifying the improvised explosive device suicide bombers: people carrying wires on their body From The Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation: Applications, Methodology, Technology Terrorist threats from small devices continue to be a very real global concern. A reminder of the persistent danger from such weapons was flagged just last week as Federal [...]... Read more »
Fox, W., Vesecky, J., & Laws, K. (2010) Sensing and identifying the improvised explosive device suicide bombers: people carrying wires on their body. The Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation: Applications, Methodology, Technology. DOI: 10.1177/1548512910384604
Along with graphene, boron nanoribbons have attracted more and more fundamental research interest. However, a major challenge in providing experimental evidence is that the preparation of atomically thin boron nanoribbons is very difficult. In new work that represents an important step in bridging theoretical predictions and experimental realization of atomically thin boron nanoribbons, reseaerchers demonstrate the successful fabrication of 'white graphene' nanoribbons - made of thermally and ch........ Read more »
Zeng, H., Zhi, C., Zhang, Z., Wei, X., Wang, X., Guo, W., Bando, Y., & Golberg, D. (2010) “White Graphenes”: Boron Nitride Nanoribbons via Boron Nitride Nanotube Unwrapping. Nano Letters, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/nl103251m
A group of Italian psychiatrists claim to explain How Neuroscience and Behavioral Genetics Improve Psychiatric Assessment: Report on a Violent Murder Case.The paper presents the horrific case of a 24 year old woman from Switzerland who smothered her newborn son to death immediately after giving birth in her boyfriend's apartment. After her arrest, she claimed to have no memory of the event. She had a history of multiple drug abuse, including heroin, from the age of 13. Forensic psychiatrists wer........ Read more »
Rigoni D, Pellegrini S, Mariotti V, Cozza A, Mechelli A, Ferrara SD, Pietrini P, & Sartori G. (2010) How neuroscience and behavioral genetics improve psychiatric assessment: report on a violent murder case. Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience, 160. PMID: 21031162
Horowitz and group investigated the timing of attention shifts with a number of clever experiments aimed at separating the contributions to the total time of elements of attention shifts.
Abstract: Do voluntary and task-driven shifts of attention have the same time course? In order to measure the time needed to voluntarily shift attention, we devised several [...]... Read more »
Mathematical ability is highly linked to earning power and career success. A new paper in Current Biology demonstrates that six days of 20 minute sessions of electrical stimulation over the parietal lobe can increase some numerical literacy tasks, even six months after the stimulation was applied!The electrical stimulation is called transcranial direct-current stimulation (TDCS). In this paradigm, electrodes are placed on the scalp as in EEG, and then a small amount of current (1-2 m........ Read more »
Cohen Kadosh, R., Soskic, S., Iuculano, T., Kanai, R., & Walsh, V. (2010) Modulating Neuronal Activity Produces Specific and Long-Lasting Changes in Numerical Competence. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.10.007
Posted by Victor Hanson-Smith, Conor O’Brien, and Bryn Gaertner. One of the grand challenges of evo-devo is to understand how mutations of genetic sequences affect concomitant phenotypic traits. Eighty-one years ago, Fisher (1930) proposed that every mutation may affect every … Continue reading →... Read more »
Wang Z, Liao BY, & Zhang J. (2010) Genomic patterns of pleiotropy and the evolution of complexity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(42), 18034-9. PMID: 20876104
By now you might be relatively familiar with the bizarre soft tissue and bony anatomy of the peculiar, poorly known Pygmy right whale Caperea marginata [a juvenile Caperea that stranded on New Zealand is shown above; original image by New Zealand Department of Conservation, from Te Papa's Blog]. If you missed the relevant articles you might want to check them out here (on the giant, asymmetrical laryngeal pouch), here (on the vertebrae and ribs) and here (on the skull, ribs and tail). These ........ Read more »
FORD, J., & REEVES, R. (2008) Fight or flight: antipredator strategies of baleen whales. Mammal Review, 38(1), 50-86. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2907.2008.00118.x
When CO2 from fossil fuels accumulates in the atmosphere, some of it dissolves into the oceans where it reacts with water to form a weak acid (H2CO3) —carbonic acid— that lowers seawater pH and makes it increasingly difficult for corals and other calcitic organisms to form their calcium carbonate (CaCO3) skeletons.
A new study in the [...]... Read more »
Rebecca Albright, Benjamin Mason, Margaret Miller, and Chris Langdon. (2010) Ocean acidification compromises recruitment success of the threatened Caribbean coral Acropora palmata. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/
In a forthcoming article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Patric Allard and Monica Colaiácovo use a nemotode (round worm) system to explore how BPA damages genetic processes in animals.
BPA ranks among the highest production volume chemicals with a global annual production scale of ≈4 million metric tons. It is commonly used in [...]... Read more »
Patrick Allard and Monica P. Colaiácovo. (2010) Bisphenol A impairs the double-strand break repair machinery in the germline and causes chromosome abnormalities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.1010386107
Adoption frequency among California sea lions appears to be between roughly 6% and 17%, and is possibly a major contributor to sea lion populations.... Read more »
Flatz, R., & Gerber, L. R. (2010) First Evidence for Adoption in California Sea Lions. PLoS ONE, 5(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013873
Have you ever gone camping with someone who doesn’t know how to build a fire? It might go something like this: you get a pile of twigs burning, and immediately your friend starts piling on huge logs. The fire dwindles. “Hey,” your friend says, “This fire sucks. It must need more logs.” If some fuel [...]... Read more »
Coale, K., Johnson, K., Fitzwater, S., Gordon, R., Tanner, S., Chavez, F., Ferioli, L., Sakamoto, C., Rogers, P., Millero, F.... (1996) A massive phytoplankton bloom induced by an ecosystem-scale iron fertilization experiment in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Nature, 383(6600), 495-501. DOI: 10.1038/383495a0
Iglesias-Rodriguez, M., Halloran, P., Rickaby, R., Hall, I., Colmenero-Hidalgo, E., Gittins, J., Green, D., Tyrrell, T., Gibbs, S., von Dassow, P.... (2008) Phytoplankton Calcification in a High-CO2 World. Science, 320(5874), 336-340. DOI: 10.1126/science.1154122
Anthony, K., Kline, D., Diaz-Pulido, G., Dove, S., & Hoegh-Guldberg, O. (2008) Ocean acidification causes bleaching and productivity loss in coral reef builders. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(45), 17442-17446. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0804478105
Read on to find out what couples can avoid doing in order to make love last a lifetime.... Read more »
Some take the tube, others the train…The Amazing Race in the brain It makes sense that we need to process and respond to some stuff we see quicker than other stuff we see. Take for instance a lion versus a lollipop. This paper by Pessoa and Adolphs explores the mechanisms behind emotional processing of visual [...]... Read more »
 Morris, J. (1999) A subcortical pathway to the right amygdala mediating "unseen" fear. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA , 96(4), 1680-1685. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.96.4.1680
 Pessoa, L. (2005) To what extent are emotional visual stimuli processed without attention and awareness?. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 15(2), 188-196. DOI: 10.1016/j.conb.2005.03.002
Tsuchiya N, Moradi F, Felsen C, Yamazaki M, & Adolphs R. (2009) Intact rapid detection of fearful faces in the absence of the amygdala. Nature neuroscience, 12(10), 1224-5. PMID: 19718036
 Ungerleider LG, & Christensen CA. (1979) Pulvinar lesions in monkeys produce abnormal scanning of a complex visual array. Neuropsychologia, 17(5), 493-501. PMID: 117393
 Vuilleumier P, Richardson MP, Armony JL, Driver J, & Dolan RJ. (2004) Distant influences of amygdala lesion on visual cortical activation during emotional face processing. Nature neuroscience, 7(11), 1271-8. PMID: 15494727
This is another in a series of essays that I’m not *so* embarrassed by that I felt like sharing. Eric Cave in “What’s Wrong with Motive Manipulation” described a variety of ways in which we could be manipulated to alter our behaviour, movement or actions. He accurately described two different broad sets of motives which are acted [...]... Read more »
I'm doing a series describing genes that have been found to be associated (even weakly, as this one is) with autism. This one is a membrane-spanning transport protein that exchanges sodium and bicarbonate ions for chloride ion; it is primarily expressed in the central nervous system. Mutations in this gene lead to changes in neuronal excitability, which can manifest as seizures.... Read more »
Damkier, H., Aalkjaer, C., & Praetorius, J. (2010) Na -dependent HCOFormula Import by the slc4a10 Gene Product Involves Cl- Export. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285(35), 26998-27007. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M110.108712
Gurnett CA, Veile R, Zempel J, Blackburn L, Lovett M, & Bowcock A. (2008) Disruption of sodium bicarbonate transporter SLC4A10 in a patient with complex partial epilepsy and mental retardation. Archives of neurology, 65(4), 550-553. PMID: 18413482
Jacobs, S., Ruusuvuori, E., Sipila, S., Haapanen, A., Damkier, H., Kurth, I., Hentschke, M., Schweizer, M., Rudhard, Y., Laatikainen, L.... (2008) Mice with targeted Slc4a10 gene disruption have small brain ventricles and show reduced neuronal excitability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(1), 311-316. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0705487105
Readers may be wondering why I’ve come over all happy clappy and jolly joy germ – well, I realised I’d been writing a lot about experimental and theoretical factors found to influence vulnerability to chronic pain, but I had been writing less about ways to help people cope more effectively with chronic pain. I do … Read more... Read more »
Tugade, M., & Fredrickson, B. (2006) Regulation of Positive Emotions: Emotion Regulation Strategies that Promote Resilience. Journal of Happiness Studies, 8(3), 311-333. DOI: 10.1007/s10902-006-9015-4
I was lucky in graduate school and my postdoctoral research—I was a microscopist working on a transparent organism (C. elegans). Some microscopists don’t have that luxury, but have developed amazing techniques in order to visualize development in organisms such as mice. In the November 1 issue of Development, Yokomizo and Dzierzak use a technique that [...]... Read more »
Yokomizo, T., & Dzierzak, E. (2010) Three-dimensional cartography of hematopoietic clusters in the vasculature of whole mouse embryos. Development, 137(21), 3651-3661. DOI: 10.1242/dev.051094
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